CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. How we test phones

O2 Graphite review: O2 Graphite

O2's latest phone combines many of the features of a PDA with the latest in mobile phone technology including 3G support, push e-mail and video conferencing all in a conventional looking handset.

Siddharth Raja
3 min read

O2 recently launched its new 3G mobile lineup with the new Xda Zinc and Graphite smartphones. There are currently two types of Windows Mobile devices: PDA-style units with touchscreens and the range of candybar-style smartphones, the later which the Graphite falls into. All-in-one devices like the Graphite have made life easier by combining many different applications into a single handset. It does everything from making voice and video calls, browsing the web and accessing email, to displaying PDF files and spreadsheets and playing music and games.


O2 Graphite

The Good

Large feature list. Small size. ong-life battery.

The Bad

Average build quality. Speaker volume is too low.

The Bottom Line

O2's latest phone combines many of the features of a PDA with the latest in mobile phone technology including 3G support, push e-mail and video conferencing all in conventional looking handset.

For its Graphite phone, O2 has gone with a conventional candybar form factor. Measuring in at 109.5mm by 46.9mm by 18mm and weighing just 105 grams with the battery, the handset sits comfortably in the hand and is unobtrusive in most pockets or handbags. It houses a bright 2.2-inch, 240x320-pixel LCD that sits below a VGA camera used for video calling. A second 2-megapixel camera with a built-in flash is located on the back panel. The position of the camera in the center of the back panel meant the lens often got blocked by our fingers when held to take a picture.

Build quality isn't one of the Graphite's strong points. The plastic used for the keypad feels cheap and the buttons don't provide good feedback when pressed quickly. O2 includes an AC adaptor, stereo headset and a mini-USB cable for data connectivity

The feature-rich Graphite comes with multiple connectivity options including tri-band GSM capability as well as 3G support. There's also Bluetooth 2.0, infrared, wireless LAN 802.11b/g and a USB port for connection with a PC. Powering the Graphite is Intel's Xscale PXA 270 processor rated at 416MHz. This is combined with 64MB of RAM and an additional 128MB of flash memory. For extra storage there's a microSD card slot, but this is located below the battery meaning the device has to be turned off every time the card is changed.

Along with the Windows Mobile 5.0 platform, the Graphite also comes with Microsoft's Messaging and Security Feature Pack, direct push technology and the latest version of Office for Windows Mobile. This package includes Outlook, Internet Explorer and MSN Messenger in addition to the regular Office suite. The Graphite has full support for video calling, web browsing and push e-mail, as well as most of the standard messaging services including SMS and MMS.

The Graphite also acts as a portable multimedia device with video recording and music playback, supporting popular formats such as MP3 and WMA. Other features include a speakerphone and 64-chord polyphonic ringtones with support for MP3, WAV and MIDI files. It also has an impressive list of pre-packed applications including a personal organiser, calculator and calendar, meeting scheduler, clock and alarm, a PDF viewer and some pre-installed Java games.

We found applications ran considerably slower than most dedicated PDAs, but still remained at a reasonable pace. One major problem when making voice calls is that sound for the ringtone and caller is too quiet, even at maximum volume. Respondents, however, didn't report any problems with the quality of outgoing conversation. The screen is a treat although it can be hard to read in direct sunlight. Icons and text are sharp and images taken with the digital camera look great.

Battery life was particularly good with the Graphite, its 1,100mAh lithium ion battery lasting almost a week with numerous voice calls and excessive use of the music player. O2's official figures are four hours of talk time and close to 200 hours on standby.

The Graphite is one of the easiest mobile devices to use on the market today, which makes it a good transition piece for users upgrading to a smartphone for the first time. It comes with all the bells and whistles that made O2's previous Xda products so popular, but in a conventional handset that won't make you look like a techno-geek.

O2 provides a standard one-year warranty with the Graphite.